Seattle Seahawks rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba's availability for the start of the regular season is in jeopardy after a wrist fracture sustained in a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Head coach Pete Carroll confirmed reports of the injury on Tuesday, telling reporters that Smith-Njigba has a "slight fracture." Smith-Njigba is scheduled to see a specialist and is expected to undergo surgery. Carroll said that his initial timeline to return is 3-4 weeks. The Seahawks open their season on Sept. 10 against the Los Angeles Rams.
"We're staying optimistic," Carroll said when asked about Smith-Njigba's Week 1 availability.
Smith-Njigba made his mark in the two preseason games he played, catching six passes for 83 yards. He reportedly broke a bone in his wrist during a 22-14 win over the Cowboys on Sunday. It occurred in the second quarter as he made a beautiful 48-yard catch.
The play is shown below, as the 21-year-old appears to land on his wrist hard when he's taken down near the goal line.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 20, 2023
He was selected with the 20th overall pick in this year's NFL Draft out of Ohio State, joining a group of receivers that includes DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Smith-Njigba opened training camp on the mend from a hamstring injury that limited him to three games with the Buckeyes last season. As he eased into full participation in June, Carroll had nothing but positive things to tell reporters:
“Oh, man, he’s really, really natural," Carroll said. "He’s really a natural athlete, gifted in his timing, in and out of breaks and things and his feel. He also has, which we saw this in the workout at school, he’s got great change of direction in him, and he’s got this marvelous ability to get in and out of his turns."
The Seahawks will be without receiver Dee Eskridge for the first six games of the season due to an NFL suspension for violations of the league's personal conduct policy. Dareke Young, who is expected to be a supporting receiver, has missed time with a hip/groin injury.
Cornerback Devon Witherspoon was the Seahawks' other first-round pick of 2023, going No. 5 overall. He has been out since Aug. 7 with a hamstring injury.